by Kevin Burton
My friend Linda who lives in England has picked out her New Year’s resolution already. Rather, she had it picked out for her by her brother.
He said her resolution should be not to visit any hospitals or have any illnesses in 2022. She’s had her share this year.
Maybe the real resolution should be to do the things needed to avoid illnesses. You know, those things we know we should be doing but don’t and those things we know we shouldn’t do but we do them anyway.
I don’t do New Year’s resolutions any more. If I find one that’s needed I won’t wait until Jan. 1 to put it in place.
So here is a Bible passage. It doesn’t read like a resolution. Let’s just say the resolution would be to make this passage be true of me.
Here it is, Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NASB):
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream,
and does not fear when the heat comes;
but its leaves will be green. And it will not be anxious in a year of drought,
nor cease to yield fruit.”
Does that sound like you?
Wow, it doesn’t sound anything like me.
Once my sister Pat told me that the 4Him song “For Future Generations” reminded her of me. That’s the one that says “I won’t bend and I won’t break, I won’t water down my faith…”
She told me that and I had to walk into the next room and cry tears of joy that anybody would think that of me.
Unfortunately I have not done that kind of crying lately.
Let’s peel apart the Jeremiah passage.
It begins with trust. This person trusts God and only in God.
Then he or she is planted by the nourishing water of God. Not planted the way I am in front of the TV on football Sundays, but planted the way a tree is. Not moving at all.
This person does not fear when the going gets tough and his “leaves will be green.”
A tree can’t fake being green the way we can fake being OK. It either has had the proper water, sun and nutrients or not. When those elements are unavailable it will show. The tree will wither.
I too can wither if I haven’t stayed close enough to God. And it’s difficult to fake that green look that says everything is all right.
The last part of the passage refers to not being anxious in a year of drought and continuing to yield fruit.
The virus era has been an extended year of draught for sure.
I for one, have failed Jeremiah’s anxiety and fruit tests. How have you been doing lately?
So how do we get there, or at least closer to there? It starts with drawing near to god and trusting Him.
For me anyway, it starts not with ratcheting up my efforts, but with slowing down long enough to listen to what God has to say.
A passage like Psalm 37: 3-5, if taken to heart, can get us moving in the right direction:
“Trust in the Lord and do good.
Live in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord. Trust also in Him, and He will do it.”
This second passage begins and ends with trust. Trust comes from knowing someone well, being around them long enough to observe their good character and abilities.
Both passages I’ve shared today are memory verses for me. So I won’t forget them even after this blog post is completed.
Maybe if I did settle on a resolution, it should be to slow down long enough for verses like these to sink down from my head, into my heart, and out through a life that bears fruit in heated times and stands strong like a sold green tree by God’s flowing water of life.